Balewadi sports complex hosts non-sporting events to meet the expensesNews — By The Desk on December 5, 2008 at 11:51 AM
Indianexpress.com, Pune: Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex at Balewadi, that saw the infusion of over Rs 500 crore to get it ready for third Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG), also hosted World Junior Badminton Championship in October. With no sporting event lined up at the venue for November, the state directorate of sports got a novel idea to meet the Rs 10-crore annual maintenance bill.
For three days, from November 28 to 30, the wrestling stadium of the Balewadi sports complex witnessed an event that had nothing even remotely connected to sports —shooting of Marathi serial “Home Minister.”
The next event chalked out at the sports complex, this time at the athletics stadium, is a public function. The Nirmal Gram Puraskar will be attended by President Pratibha Patil on December 8. Thereafter, on December 15, the athletics stadium has again been rented out to a private firm where they are going to hold a workshop on healthcare.
“The state Government is giving only Rs one crore for the maintenance of the complex. So we are hosting such non-sporting events to meet the expenses. Such things are common in the US and other countries where sport stadiums are given out for other activities,” Director of Sports, Laxmikant Deshmukh, told The Indian Express.
President of Indian Olympic Association Suresh Kalmadi said he was not aware of it. “I think such non-sporting events should not happen at this venue. Sharad Pawar and I are planning to work out some proposals to have international athletes use this stadium regularly and also have the government shell out more towards maintenance. It is yet in the preliminary stage,” he said.
A high level meeting of the sports department will be convened next week to discuss a policy on the rental rates to be charged for these ‘non-sporting’ activities. “At least 90 days a year we should be able to give out the venue for such events to recover our maintenance costs,” Deshmukh said.
According to sources, the serial shoot earned the department Rs 2 lakh, while a bill for Rs 12 lakh has been forwarded to the state government for the Nirmal Gram Puraskar that will see the President attend the function. The private firm will have to pay Rs 5 lakh for hosting the health workshop.
“If we were to charge Rs 40,000 for a badminton event we would charge Rs 1,60,000 for a non-sport event. Once the meeting to decide the parametres of renals for non-sporting event gets over, we will be giving out the Balewadi complex for more such events,” said a sports department official.
Gaurav Natekar, former national tennis player and committee member of CYG said, “It all depends on which areas of the sports venue are being used. There are recreation halls and conference halls as well as stadiums at Balewadi. Even in US and Europe, stadiums are given out for rock shows. As long as the money is ploughed back into sports activities, and the venues are not affected, it is better left to the discretion of the sports department.”